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About Schmidt (DVD)

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      15.07.2013 19:19
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      see review x

      Even though this is an old film, I have only just got around to watching it. I think the title of the film put me off, but seeing it been shown on demand I thought I would give it a try. The film starts off with a guy sat in his office looking at the clock waiting till it strikes five, so that he can head off home. I felt that was a pointless scene in my eyes as it was pretty boring and pointless. So was my first opinions right on this film, I watched on to find out. It then went to a speech at a retirement party and I thought god what am I watching but then I thought I would give it a little more time, as it has been given good reviews in the past.

      The film does seem to have a slow start and would have been one I would normally have turned off but I only kept it on due to the good reviews I thought it cant be all bad. So does this story seem to have a purpose?, It then shows you him sponsoring a child and he writes a letter to the child which finally tells you a little bit about him including his name. Warren Schmidt. And it tells you all about his wife and his daughter, and about her engagement. He posts the letter off to the young orphan boy, and returns home to find his wife collapsed on the floor. Who then dies, he has to arrange the funeral and everything, he gets that all done and he seems quite close to his daughter at the funeral, as they were overcome with grief. They did end up having a row about her choice of boyfriend and how cheap he had done the funeral for. However they made up again before his daughter headed off bask home.

      He takes the death of his wife very hard, and mopes around for a few weeks, but then he comes across some letters and cards showing him that his wife had cheated on him years before with one of his mates. He takes this quite badly as you would expect. He decides to go on a little road trip, he was going to go to his daughters but she did not want him there. So he just set off on his travels. He travels to his daughters after been on the road for a while, ready for when she gets married. Even though he is there for the wedding he tries to convince her not to marry him.

      He is faced with an ultimatum deal with it or go back home, so how will things work out, well that you will have to find out by watching it.

      The acting in this was mainly based around the character of Warren who is played by Jack Nicholson, well as you can gather as I have never seen him act badly in any film, granted this is not one of my first choice films, and I have seen him in a lot better films, but he does play this part well. My only thing was that he does not have the type of face that goes well for a grief stricken person, I think he has more of a baddies face than anything. Even so I still think he did play it well, and I can not fault his acting even if I can fault the film.

      As to whether I would recommend this or not I am totally undecided, as the film is watch-able but I found it boring in parts and took a while to get any story going. Even then the story was not brilliant, I would have liked this film more if it had a bit more story to it, I mean in the read up it says black comedy. I did not see any comedy in the film, if anything I was bored through some of it, but some people may prefer this sort of film, it just was not for me.

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        29.08.2010 17:09
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        more drama, drama, drama

        This is a real comedy full of family issues, love, relationship and what do you do when you retire? travel? sit at home or do everything just goes down the well?

        Warren Schmidt is a man in his 60s who has had the best job possible know to any man, today is the today is that he retires. We first see him in his office, looking at the clock until it hits the hour of five, this is when he is no longer working and is free into the world of retirement.
        Warren already has his retirement plan, he decides to go on a road trip with his wife of 40 years, Helen. But Warren is unsure if he actually wants to do what he planned in his retirement when his wife arrives with breakfast in their new Winnebago.

        Sadly, Warren is then starting to loose everything and his plan, even his wife Helen who has now sadly passed away after collapsing while cleaning the house. Warren is in another crisis, his daughter is soon to be married, but he doesn't like his future son-in-law.
        But he tries to turn those things around, when he gets paper in the post asking him if he wants to adopt a child, which Warren must had done a while back and writes to him about everything in his life, mostly the downs.
        But could everything be life changing for Warren? or could life had been better with his wife, but he knows that she's no longer there.

        cast

        Warren Schmidt : Jack Nicholson
        Roberta Hertzal : Kathy Bates
        Jeannie Schmidt : Hope Davis
        Randall Hertzal : Dermot Muloreny
        Helen Schmidt : June Squibb

        certificate : 15
        director : Alexander Payne
        run time : 125 minutes

        Overall, I wouldn't really class this film as a comedy, so I was a bit disappointed by the amount of comedy in this film, I do believe that this film is more of a drama film than comedy. So if you're thinking of picking this up cause it's comedy, think again especially after you read this!
        But the cast is good, and scenes did tend drag a bit but I would say that this is a good film to watch on a rainy day!

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        12.03.2010 10:12
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        Great film

        About Schmidt is an excellent dark comedy of a film and one that I would certainly recomend seeing. It has an excellent cast which includes Jack Nicholson and Kathy Bates. The subject matter is rather morbid in places but the quality of the acting is superb and these are two of my favourite performers.

        Jack Nicholson plays Warren Schmidt a man who has recently lost his wife after her death and he is mourning that event and also uncertain about his own future. He is a lonely man who finds himslef being isolated from former friends and family. He falls out with his daughter over the funeral for his wife and he is rather bolshe and argumentative generally.

        One of the things he does is adopt an African child and some of the story is shown in the letters that he writes. The main focus is the trip that he takes across country to attend his daughters wedding to a man he does not approve of and also an attempt to mend his broken relationship with his daughter. Bates plays her future mother in law while his daughter is played by Hope Davis.

        Bates is just hilarious in her role while Nicholson also shines as the cantankerous strong willed Schmidt. It is a powerful performance from him and one that is very emotional in places as well as being funny.

        There is a lot of reflection going on in the film and as I like road trip movies then this sort of film would always appeal to me given the strength of the cast. An excellent film with some top class performances it is a must see film in my opinion.

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          02.02.2010 16:51
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          A good movie that's something different. Jack's acting talent is put to the test here

          Jack Nicholson stars in 'About Schmidt', an average, 60 something working class guy who has just retired from working at his company for so many years. Sick of the thoughts that he has done nothing with his life but work and lead the average married life, he embarks on a cross country journey to visit his daughter and attend her wedding.

          At first glance, looking at the cover, the movie has the look of a comedy film.

          The film isn't really as such, it's more drama but with a few comedy elements thrown in for good measure.

          I watched this film, again, a few days ago and still get a certain amount of enjoyment from it.

          I do know that it's not really that much appreciated from the public but I do believe it to be an underrated film.

          It's the type of film that makes you think about your own life and what YOU have done with it so far.

          By the end of it, you just may be questioning your life and see what improvements there are that can be done to lead a better one.

          So, it's that kind of movie.

          Nicholson is as good as always but I do tend to think that he plays himself in a lot of his movies. He hams things up in general....there isn't so much of that here and you may be shocked to see Jack actually acting out emotions that we are not used to seeing!

          A strong contender to his acting is the great Kathy Bates (Misery) who plays the mother of the fiance that her daughter is about to marry. Her character is about humour and not really giving a care for much. Obviously about her son but about the way she conducts herself, sometimes VERY blatantly (watch the film) and she makes Schmidt's time visiting their home hillariously difficult!

          If you want to watch a film that inspires you or makes you think about your own reality then give this one a try.

          I enjoyed it.

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            30.12.2009 09:01
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            Dark comedy

            About Schmidt is a quality film which boasts a great cast in the form of the excellent Jack Nicholson alongside Kathy Bates. It is a rather morbid, dark comedy that is a really enjoyable film and one I have seen a couple of times now.

            Nicholson plays Warren Schmidt who has recently been widowed and is facing life in his retirement all alone, he leads a rather lonely existence and at times he is a rather cantakerous person who argues with his daughter over the right casket for his estranged wifes funeral.

            Floating through life he decides to adopt an African child and it is his letters to this child that forms the narration for the story as he travels across country to attend his daughters wedding to a man he does not approve of. His daughter Jeannie is played by Hope Davis while her mother in law is played by Kathy Bates.

            Nicholson is excellent in this form of character acting and he delivers a powerful performance in what is quite a moving and in places emotional film. It is a road trip movie with a difference and I liked the originality in the plot and the fact thatthis is a dark comedy which makes you think a bit and also reflect a little on your own life just as Schmidt reflects on his own throughout the film.

            The supporting cast is excellent and Bates is hilarious in her role when she makes a pass at Schmidt, I liked the depth that is given to many of the characters and the fact that most of the time Schmidt is actually right in his opinions kust awful at getting them across to people in a way that will make them listen to him.

            Certainly a film that is well worth seeing and worth five stars from me.

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            28.12.2009 17:17
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            A look at the life of 60-something Warren Schmidt

            About Schmidt starring Jack Nicholson is adapted from a novel. Director Alexander Payne(Sideways) writes the screenplay himself and presents us with a film that tries to unravel the meaning of life.

            About Schimdt is about Warren Schmidt,an old guy in his 60s who is recently divorced and later widowed. Schmidt finds himself lonely without his wife and the film is a take on how he takes on life,how he evaluates his past life and how he tries to explore life's meaning.

            I liked the basic premise of the film and I thought it would be a heartwarming experience to see Jack Nicholson in such a role. I liked the film in parts but I thought it went a bit out of focus at certain sequences. Schmidt's relation with his about to be married daughter Jeannie takes centre stage which gives us the moments in the film but the audience expects a whole lot more from the director. Kathy Bates plays Jeannie's to be mother in law which didn't go down too well with me,the character could have been pitched more realistically. Schmidt's decision to sponsor an african child after his retirement acts as a means of writing to a pal which opens up the screenplay and lets the audience know how he is feeling. The ending is rather emotional and you realise how beautifully the adoption thing works out for the story.

            What makes About Schmidt watch worthy is Jack Nicholson's oscar nominated performance; a performance filled with silence moments,simple acts that add a lot to the character. Kathy Bates' nomination in the supporting actress category will raise questions though since her presence hardly makes a positive impression.

            About Schmidt tackles a rather neglected sector of people-the old people and their lives which is refreshing.

            Rating:3+/5

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              24.09.2009 20:12

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              An entertaining film with great performances

              This is a film about Warren Schmidt who is recently retired froma mundane office job and is struggling with retirement blues. Just when he thought he would live a long and (un)happy life with his wife of 42 years she suddenly drops dead. Looking for a way out he decides to go and visit his daughter Jeannie who is about to get married to Randall, a down and out who he disapproves of. The film stars Jack Nicholson and kathy Bates both of whom, as you can imagine, are superb. Nicholson for once underplays and limits his facial expressions to a minimum. Bates is impeccable as always. I struggled a little with the plot as some characters, and in particular that of Randall, were slightly cliched. he is a hillbilly with no prospects... the archetypal disapproved of boyfriend. in my mind the film would have been much funnier had Randall been more like Nicholson's character himself. That aside, this is an entertaining and enjoyable film that is certainly worth watching.

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              26.07.2009 23:31
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              A good film well worth watching.

              About Schmidt really is a must see film, it is one of those timeless films that will appeal for generations I believe. The film was originally released in 2002 and has a rating of 7.2 on the IMBD rating which I believe is a fair resemblance of the quality of the movie. The film stars Jack Nicholson and Kathy Bates amongst many other accomplashed actors who really do set the quality of the film.

              The film is about a man named Warren Schmidt, hence the name of the film and is played by Jack Nicholson. The film shows how warren Schmidt has to come to terms with the strange future that lies ahead being retirement. Sadly his wide dies and so he has to come to terms with this and so really does grieve. He finds out that his daughter has married a man that sheh
              does not care for. His life is a real failure in his eyes and so he tries to do everything in his powers to get back on the right track.

              The storyline is inspirational in one sense and it is exciting to watch and so on that note I really would recommend this for a watch. I hope this was useful and thank you very much for reading this.

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              09.11.2008 22:01
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              Depressing, but worth a watch

              Warren Schmidt has just retired and is finding his new life rather hard to adjust to when he is dealt another blow - his wife of 42 years suddenly drops dead. Daughter Jeannie comes to visit for a while, but she is about to get married to Randall, of whom her father deeply disapproves, and has to return home to carry on with the preparations. Warren finds himself completely lost with no-one to talk to about his wife except by letter to a young boy he has 'adopted' in Africa. He decides to go on a trip to 'find' himself. Will he be able to come to terms with his wife's death? And will Jeannie's marriage to Randall definitely go ahead?

              I think Jack Nicholson is capable of wonderful performances - I love him in The Shining, one of the few films I can watch over and over again, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. He does sometimes fall a bit flat though, coming across as himself rather than his character a bit too much - before this film, I most recently saw him in The Bucket List, in which I thought he was competent at best. As Warren Schmidt though, I think he gives one of his better performances. It is not always easy to watch - there is much about Warren that isn't very pleasant, but there is no doubt that he is in pain because of his wife's death and daughter's marriage - and this is written all over Nicholson's face. And there is enough strength in the character to be able to hold the film - for much of it, Nicholson is the only face we see - without it becoming boring.

              Despite Nicholson's performance, it is still a relief when Kathy Bates, who plays Randall's mother Roberta, comes into the story towards the end of the film. Roberta is hilarious - she is a sex-mad, kaftan-wearing woman who embraces everyone she comes into contact with, usually telling them exactly what she thinks of them at the same time. Bates doesn't play the role for laughs though, although she is gently comic, and is a perfect complement to Nicholson's seriousness. Dermot Mulroney, who plays Randall, also brings some much needed humour to the film - he is not immediately recognisable, having long hair and bald bits, but his ineptness is actually quite endearing. I wasn't so keen on Jeannie, played by Hope Davis - she is a rather annoying woman who comes over as being very selfish - albeit in the run up to her wedding when every woman is going to have a series of wobblies. I think Davis probably gave a competent performance, but she is so mousy that I didn't really take much notice of her.

              This is not a film for family entertainment. It is deeply depressing for much of the time - it questions the meaning of life and how we know whether our lives have been worthwhile. At one point, Warren talks about the fact that he will soon die, and once everyone he knows is dead too, the fact that he was once alive will be largely pointless. Cheerful stuff. It does, however, remind us that, although we are all ultimately alone, we can and should reach out to other people. I can imagine that a lot of people, looking for a light-hearted escape, will not get very far with the film. However, if you like pondering the meaning of life, or just like a film that is thought-provoking, then About Schmidt is worth a look. Not recommended for children though - partly because of the subject matter, partly because we get to see Nicholson's man-boobs!! Not a pleasant sight!

              The story is told largely in the form of Warren writing a letter to his adopted son in Africa. This is sometimes rather strange - why he would think a six year old boy would want to know about the ins and outs of his family life is beyond me! However, it is quite effective, because we get to compare what he is telling the boy with what actually happens - and often, he puts a very different slant on things! This does help to lift the atmosphere though, which is much needed at times.

              Made in 2002, director Alexander Payne largely does a good job of directing the film, pacing it so that, despite the depresssing circumstances, it never becomes too horrific or too boring. My only gripe is that right at the beginning of the film, there is a sequence of shots of buildings - largely the one that Warren used to work in. This doesn't last for more than a minute at the most, but it is not a good way to start the film. I think Payne was probably trying to express how boring Schmidt's job was, but I found myself wondering if the DVD had broken or it was an insert from another film.

              There are just two special features on my disc - some deleted scenes, which are deadly dull - no wonder they were deleted, and a theatrical trailer. If you do buy DVDs based on special features, I think you will be disappointed.

              On the whole, I think this is a film worth seeing when you are prepared to think, but not if you are looking for something to amuse you. There are some funny moments, but on the whole, the whole tone of the film is sad, and the ending is downright miserable. Still, the performances make it a film worth seeing, and it is a very realistic storyline. Recommended.

              The DVD is available from play.com for £4.99.

              Classification: 15

              Running time: 125 minutes

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                06.12.2004 11:06
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                n About Schmidt, Jack Nicholson plays Warren Schmidt, a man in his sixites who is made redudant, made to breave the passing away of his wife and has to come to terms with his daughter marrying a man he does not like - this becomes the story of a man and his life of struggle.

                His life at the beginning is quite normal and ordinary. Untill he becomes sad he doesn't often show it but he is. Following on from the sequence of bad events in his life he decides to try and make his daughter see sense that marrying the man she wants to marry is not good, truely just because he doesn't think he is good enough for her. Good performances also follow from supporting cast Kathy Bates etc. They give good performences as does Jack Nicholson.

                The film won an oscar, for Jack Nicholson as best Actor - this to me seemed deserved. Jack Nicholson plays an excellent act, his potryal seems genuine and real. The supporting cast go along with the story. The story is simplistic but good. This film is largely raved about, and you may not want to give it a try but i do recommend watching it. The plot is very good.

                This is a comedy and drama film. This is a good film. The acting is very good, the plot is very simplistic but real and gripping. I like the acting by all actors they seem convicing. Worth Watching, Very good.

                ****
                This review is copyrighted to Sajjad Ali. Please do note edit, copy, remove or delete this without my permission. I reserve the right to publish this elesewhere.
                ****

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                  08.01.2004 01:56
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                  Comedy is a broad word; it doesn?t mean one thing in particular. A comedy film can be something that is broad and blatant. It can also be a film that is amusing, funny but always on a conscious level. About Schmidt is a comedy drama that fits into this category; it?s a film that?s funny because it?s true. However it?s also more than that. Warren Schmidt (Jack Nicholson) has hit retirement age, he is destined to spend his days not really knowing what to do. He will spend it with his wife of 42 years and together they plan to travel in a recently purchased motor home. However this new found freedom that Warren encounters is strange, he is forced to realize that the majority of his life has been routine and he?s never ventured out. However his daughter is about to get married and that is something to look forward to although Warren isn?t too keen on his future son-in-law. But Warren encounters bereavement and with nothing else to do he sets out on a journey of self-discovery on the roads of America in his motor home. Some audiences will probably dismiss this as slow moving and having nothing of substance. Well this is the audience with low attention span as About Schmidt is a great film about life, love, loss and realization. Personally I love movies where there is one main character who takes a pretty normal journey. I got a similar feeling from David Lynch?s The Straight Story, a film where nothing much happens but you feel a lot better after seeing it. What About Schmidt does is re-affirm Jack Nicholson as one of the best actors around. His choices are normally excellent and this is a role where Nicholson plays against his persona and just plays someone completely normal. His role is mainly made up of reaction and facial expression. He says a lot in this film without even saying a word. The film also improves a great deal once Kathy Bates appears as Warren?s daughter?s mother-in-law. She plays a free-spirited woman who speaks her mind and
                  is pretty liberal. The highlight of the film is an awkward hot-tub encounter between Bates and Nicholson. Aside from the acting the film is well crafted by Director Alexander Payne, he makes beautiful shots out of the ordinary. The film moves along at a good pace when it could have dragged, as co-writer Payne also gives the film so great dialogue. But above all else this is a film that can change you. You come to realize that this maybe your life in years to come. Maybe you don?t want to be in the same position as Warren when you?re older, it males you think about doing something with your life. I have to say I really enjoyed this film and I would definitely recommend it to anyone.

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                    20.10.2003 19:42
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                    This is Jack Nicholson’s movie. And yet it’s nothing like a Jack Nicholson movie, in many respects. OK, it’s a cross between "As good as it gets" (which Nicholson was in) and "American Beauty" (which he wasn’t in). He plays Warren Schmidt, a stick in the mud, who doesn’t really like his wife, to whom he’s been married 42 years (though she dotes on him) – he’s married to his job, then finds out when he retires, that his firm, an insurance company, didn’t rally respect him anyway. Kick in the teeth, and then there’s having to put up with your wife 24/7. His wife Helen is well-played by June Squibb, in a small role, because (and I don’t think I’m giving any secrets away here) she dies very shortly after Schmidt begins his retirement. So the story shifts, to one where we see a previously well-looked-after (perhaps even mollycoddled) man having to live his own life. There are some great scenes of Schmidt ‘managing’ in the house - take-aways are a godsend, washing up builds up. I love the scene where he suddenly realises he needs some shopping and goes out, as he is, unwashed, unshaved and in his pyjamas, to the shops. Well, you would, wouldn’t you? It’s all a big contrast from his former smart working self, but brilliantly illustrates the changes and the difficult times he’s having to go through. He has a daughter and he heads toward Denver in a mobile home to see her. They do not seem especially close, and the portrayal of their relationship will make many of us involved in father-daughter relationships think again about how close we really are, I think. Schmidt meets a couple along the way – played by Harry Groener and Connie Ray Hope Davis plays his daughter, Jeannie, and the buffoon (in Schmidt’s opinion) she’s going to marry is played by Dermot Mulroney Kathy Bates
                    is his mother – as with all the characters apart from Nicholson, her role is quite minor, but it is unforgettable, especially the hot tub scene! It’s an understated performance from Nicholson, which makes it easy either to identify with him and his predicament, or to recognise him as the kind of man who might live down a street not too far away from you. For me, the best thing of all is the fact that we get to hear what he writes in his letters to Ndugu, a child in Tanzania, who he is ‘sponsoring’ as a charity thing – very touching but also brilliantly funny. Overall – there’s plenty of dark humour, yes. The story is almost tragi comic – gently funny, but some real belly laughs too. (Anyone who’s had the old toilet seat down argument with their female partners) Director Alexander Payne had previously made the critically well-received “Citizen Ruth” and "Election". He and Jim Taylor were the writers of the screenplays for both of these movies, as well as "About Schmidt". The movie received 5 Golden Globe nominations, and Nicholson and Kathy Bates were both nominated for Oscars. I saw "Abougt Schmidt" at the cinema, and it was 125 minutes long – not all that short, and perhaps even slightly longer than the average comedy feature, but I could have sat through as much again. I really wished it didn’t have to end. The DVD features 46 minutes of extras – - nine deleted scenes - “Woodman Tower” sequences - both with text and introduction from Alexander Payne. - theatrical trailer It’s in widescreen format. Cost - £13.99 from amazon.co.uk One that’s on my Xmas list.

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                      09.10.2003 04:54
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                      This film is an absolute gem for Jack's fans, and anyone else who just wants to sit comfortably and enjoy a sweet little movie. I warn you now though, if you have a short attention span, don't bother buying this DVD. 'About Schmidt' is very slow moving and long, so if you don't go in for that, steer clear. The film follows the life of Arthur Schmidt, after he has retired from his lifeling job in an insurance company. Played by Jack Nicholsen, this character evolves so well throughout the story you come to feel like he's a close friend, or even your own grandfather. His life takes a sudden downturn due to a sad event (wouldn't want to say in case I spoil it for you people!) which provokes him to go on a soul-searching journey before finally reaching his destination of his daughter's wedding, held across the country. Throw in a truly funny sub-plot of his sponsor of a young boy in a third world country to whom he regularly sends overly familiar letters, and the arrival of a brilliant Kathy Bates, and you've found a winner. 'About Schmidt' is genuinely funny and endearing, and I would recommend it to anyone who has a soft heart and some patience. However, it can be very slow paced at times which can lead to some exasperation. Bear with it, and you will enjoy the movie.

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                        12.04.2003 19:32
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                        About Schmidt is a strange film. It could not be described as a comedy despite many comic moments, nor could it be described as a thoroughly enjoyable film, but that is not to say that it isn?t a good film. The dull grey vista of About Schmidt is just a little but too real to be appealing. Warren Schmidt, played by Jack Nicholson, retires from his lifelong job as an actuary, aged 66, to find himself feeling somewhat expendable. The unexpected death of his wife, and the impending marriage of his only daughter to a waterbed salesman, leaves him lonely. After a few weeks of napping in front of the t.v., dry tacos for breakfast and tripping over his washing, Warren gets into his 35-foot motor home and sets off around Nebraska. Occasionally, intrigue threatens; when his wife dies, we imagine a new fulfilling life as he finds a soul mate. When he discovers an old affair between his wife and a close friend, vengeful plots flicker at the corners of our eyes. But nothing happens. The almost unblinking focus of the camera on Schmidt tells us that this film is simply about a tired, sad nd unfulfilled 66-year-old. Nicholson is not the man most of us would envisage if asked to cast such a character, yet his performance is what makes the film. Though he is, as always, subtle and engaging, it is a quiet, distant portrayal ? as real as the film is, the audience is not invited to interact. Of course the essence of the film is precisely Schmidt?s inability to interact, to make a difference, even to his own life. He fails to connect with his wife, daughter, or any of the people he meets on his travels, communicating most fluidly in his letters to Ndugu, a 6-year-old Tanzanian orphan who he has never met. Clearly, the letters are not for the benefit of Ndugu, but serve as an outlet for the clarity of thought Schmidt begins to gain along his soul-searching journey. Nicholson?s performance of Schmidt is perhaps unexpected (unless of course you?ve seen as good as it get
                        s which bears a number of similarities). Director Alexander Payne is brave with his ?warts and all? portrayal of the retired generation including a scene with Waren on the loo and also a naked Kathy Bates. About Schmidt is not an easy film to watch ? the inevitability of Schmidt?s lonely retirement, and the realization that when he dies, the world will carry on regardless, are things that will come to us all. A much needed respite from endless epics, technicolour teens and sexy superheroes, it is a difficult fil to define. Yet through moments of humour, hope and heartbreak, above all what the film does is make us think.

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                          02.03.2003 01:32
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                          Films starring Jack Nicholson are a rare commodity of recent years, his most recent appearance being in 2001's The Pledge. So it's a welcome sight to see him back in dark comedy About Schmidt. Nicholson plays Warren Schmidt, a 60 something executive just starting his retirement after many years working for an insurance company. He's dissatisfied with life; hates the young hotshot who took his job; and is constantly irritated by his wife Jeannie's little habits. After her sudden death, he sets out on a journey to stop his daughter (Hope Davis) entering into a union with a waterbed salesman (Dermot Mulroney) who Schmidt doesn't think is worthy enough for his little girl. The film is actually based on a novel of the same name. It's directed and co-adapted by Alexander Payne (who also directed the well received Election). Payne's screenplay won't make you laugh out loud but it will leave you thinking (bizarrely, Payne also wrote Jurassic Park III). Make no mistake, this is all Nicholson's show. After hearing all the hype about his performance in this film, I'd been looking forward to it, hoping to see more of the comedy talents he displayed so well in As Good As It Gets; in recent years he's leaned towards less serious parts (The Pledge being a notable exception). It was a surprise to see how subdued he is here; no wisecracks or insults this time out. And although that might be less entertaining, its interesting to see Nicholson perform this way. He gives an excellent portrayal of a man facing up to regrets and a few home truths about his life. Nicholson is apparently the mass favourite for pretty much every Best Actor award under the sun this year, including the Oscar. He's managed to win three already, Best Actor for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest in 1976, Best Supporting for Terms of Endearment in 1983, and Best Actor again in 1997 for As Good as it Gets. Can he make it four? Alt
                          hough Daniel Day Lewis did win for Gangs of New York at the Baftas, so perhaps he might sneak it. When he sees a charity appeal on TV and starts sponsoring Ndugu, a little boy in Tanzania, Schmidt is invited to write letters to him and amusingly starts venting his fury about the frustrations of his life. These are the highlights of the film, as at varying points throughout, Nicholson does a voiceover for each letter he writes. "Dear Ndugu..." Some of the scenes intended for laughs do miss the mark, but this is definitely not a comedy film, it's more drama than anything else. Oscar nominated Kathy Bates pops up in the latter half of the film as the groom's mother. Although its a solid performance its not awards material and it would have been nicer to see her nomination go elsewhere. Nicholson projects have been scarce of late, but with this, and comedy Anger Management opposite Adam Sandler later this year, perhaps he'll be making more frequent appearances at the cinema from now on. Which is very welcome because he's always a delight to watch.

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